Museums for Kids, Children's Theater

A New Take on "The Music Man" at 142 Throckmorton Theatre

July 18, 2017

The Music ManThere’s trouble in River City when 142 Throckmorton's production of Meredith Willson’s six-time, Tony Award-winning musical The Music Man comes to Mill Valley! The Music Man tells the story of fast-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band, despite the fact that he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef. His plans to skip town with the cash, howerver are thwarted when he falls for Marian, the local librarian!

A partnership with La Familia, Oakland School for the Arts, and 142 Throckmorton, this production of The Music Man is inspired by Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, featuring a diverse cast of actors and a mission to unite communities, build bridges, and create innovative art.

Planes, Air Museums, and Aviation Fun in the San Francisco Bay Area

July 7, 2017

Wings Over Wine Country Air Show

If your kids are obsessed with planes and flying machines, then take a family outing to one of these San Francisco Bay Area air museums, airshows, and other aviation destinations. Some of these places even include the opportunity to climb aboard and sit behind the controls of real historic aircraft, while others offer the chance to watch planes and helicopters in action in the air. There's something for all ages! Please keep in mind that hours and admission details can change, so check museum websites or call before you go.

Visit a Museum for Free in July

July 1, 2017

Did you know you can visit most of the Bay Area's major museums and cultural attractions for free every month? Just about all museums have one day a month set aside as a free day. They all aren't on the same day, too, so if you plan it right you can take in several museum outings without having to pay a thing.

Note that most museums charge for admission to special exhibitions and usually only the special exhibition fee is charged on free days; see details with each museum listing in our ultimate guide to San Francisco Bay Area museum free days below.

Live Reptile Birthday Parties at Marin Treks

May 29, 2017

Marin Treks Birthday Parties

Have you been to the Marin Treks Natural History Museum yet? It's a great place to take the kids to learn about nature and the environment and to have some hands-on fun with their collection of live animals. Did you know they also offer awesome birthday parties, too?

Let Marin Treks make your child's next birthday party a day to remember! You can hold your party at their museum in Novato, or outdoors in your backyard or in a local park. Marin Treks' exciting hands-on birthday adventures allow the birthday girl or boy and their guests to hold and learn fun facts about the museum's amazing collection of live reptiles. Discuss where they live, what they eat, how they avoid predators, and a whole lot more. The children are encouraged to ask as many questions as they can and then try to answer their own questions by carefully observing the animals, just like real scientists.

Insider's Guide to the 2017 Mountain Play: Disney's Beauty and the Beast

May 1, 2017

2017 Mountain Play Disney's Beauty and the BeastChelsea Holifield (Belle) and Zachary Isen (Lumière). Photo by Ed Smith

One of Marin County's most beloved and unique events is the famous Mountain Play—an outdoor theatre experience high on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais that's been going strong for over a century! This year's 104th Mountain Play production is the Broadway musical Disney's Beauty and the Beast

Based on the Academy Award-winning Disney animated feature, the stage version of this beloved story includes all of the wonderful songs written by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman along with new songs by Menken and Tim Rice. The original Broadway production ran for over 13 years and was nominated for nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It all makes for fantastic family entertainment in the spectacular setting of Mt. Tam!

Train Rides and Railroad Adventures for Kids in the Bay Area and Northern California

April 3, 2017

It's hard to resist the romantic notion of riding the rails in a car pulled by an old-fashioned steam locomotive. It's something that captivates most kids—and many adults, too. Fortunately for railroad-obsessed kids and their parents, we have plenty of opportunities to take a real train ride in the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California, even if it is on a working scale-model! Many of these train rides are a short distance away, and some are great excuses for a day trip or weekend getaway. All of them are a lot of fun! Whether it's a miniature scale railroad or the full-size real deal, the sights and sounds of a train ride are unforgettable.

Keep in mind that many of these railroads keep to seasonal schedules, and rides are often weather permitting. Some offer train rides on weekends only. Make sure you check their websites or give them a call before you plan your visit.

North Bay

Sonoma TrainTown, Sonoma

This scale railroad in the town of Sonoma has been delighting families since 1958. In addition to the train, pulled by scale steam and diesel engines, there's a petting zoo, miniature Western town, kid-size carnival rides, snack bar, and gift shop. Read more about TrainTown. 20264 Broadway, Sonoma CA 95476, www.traintown.com

Theater Summer Camps for Kids in Marin

March 20, 2017

Marin Shakespeare CampPhoto: Michael V. Dyett/ Marin Theatre Company

If you have a young Shakespearean or budding Broadway musical star at home, why not hone their talents at one of the theater camps being offered this summer in Marin. Here's a list of 2017 camps that have a focus on acting and musical theater in Marin County.

Marin Shakespeare Company Summer Camps

Location: Novato, Ross, San Rafael
Ages: 4–18
Dates: June 12–August 11
Cost: $200–$925 per session

Marin Shakespeare Company offers camps for kids ages 5 through 18 at locations throughout Marin. The youngest campers can enjoy learning Shakespeare's Stories at Forest Meadows Amphitheatre in San Rafael. Older kids ages participate in Young Company (ages 8–12) at Forest Meadows, Lynwood Elementary School in Novato or Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross or Tennis/Drama (ages 8–14) at Forest Meadows and Marin Tennis Club in San Rafael. Teens can participate in a summer performance of Love's Labour's Lost. For more info, visit www.marinshakespeare.org.

"Oliver!" Opens at the Throckmorton Theatre

March 9, 2017

Oliver!Left to right: Fergus Campbell as Fagin, Liev Bruce-Low as Oliver, Skylar Silvera as Nancy, Marco Lizzaraga as Bill Sikes. Photo:  Throckmorton Theatre

This weekend, Throckmorton Theatre and a cast of some of the Bay Area's most talented youth performers premiere their production of the Broadway classic musical Oliver! Based on Charles Dickens' novel, this Tony- and Olivier-Award-winning show is one of the few musicals to also win an Academy Award for Best Picture.

The streets of Victorian England come to life as Oliver, a malnourished orphan in a workhouse, escapes to London and find acceptance amongst a group of petty thieves and pickpockets led by the elderly Fagin. When Oliver is arrested for a theft he didn't commit, the benevolent victim, Mr. Brownlow, takes him in. Fearing for the safety of his hideout, Fagin employs the sinister Bill Sikes and the sympathetic Nancy to kidnap him back, threatening Oliver’s chances of discovering the true love of a family.

The Insider's Guide to Visiting Tiburon for Families

March 5, 2017

Tiburon

Tiburon, that "nearly perfect" Marin town on the end of its namesake peninsula, is a fantastic place for families to visit. Tiburon has long been a favorite of locals and tourists, and boasts amazing views of San Francisco, plenty of boutiques, shops, and restaurants, and lots for everyone to see and do. So pack up the kiddos this summer and head out to Tiburon for a day of fun!

You'll probably want to head straight for downtown Tiburon. We love to walk along the path in Shoreline park and watch the sailboats as they glide by on San Francisco Bay. Along the way, you'll find a fun and interesting museum that's perfect for kids, as well as grassy areas that are ideal for a picnic or just relaxing.

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